The Integrity of Advanced Lab Services

The Integrity of Advanced Lab Services

Until early 2012 there was no reliable diagnostic test beyond what is mentioned above. However as of 8/1/2012, a blood culture boasting 99% accuracy (later adjusted to 94% based on comparison testing ) was developed with the assistance of Dr. Burrascano which is accurate in all cases unless there is contamination. The test is a blood culture produced and run by Advanced Lab Services (http://www.advanced-lab.com ) .

After 3 decades of a 2-tier testing system that fails to catch a minimum of 50% of those infected.  Wouldn’t you think that the CDC and IDSA would enthusiastically support such a test?

Apparently that is too threatening for the people who would like to be seen as the “Gods of Lyme Disease”

So instead of support, last year CDC’s Dr Barbara Johnson has published a paper accusing Dr Sapi (consulting for Advanced Lab Services at the time) of having contaminated the cultures she wrote about in her published research with Borrelia strains from her own lab.

In fact the strains in question were not with Dr. Sapi, who works at the University of New Haven – they were over 200 miles away in Philadelphia, PA in a clean and high quality lab.

Since that time there have been many articles condemning  Advances Lab Services for the contamination in their lab in spite of the fact that there have been several scientific studies to prove that there is in fact no contamination at Advanced Lab Services, and actual tests to verify the integrity of the blood cultures.

 

 

On April 21, 2014, The following letter was published by Philip M. Tierno, Jr., PhD, Director of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology New York University School of Medicine (Outside Consultant to Advanced Labs).  Even as an outside consultant, Dr. Tierno has no reason to risk his reputation by lying about such an important test, not just for the US but for the world.

He writes,

“I have read with great disappointment several reports by the CDC, Fort Collins Group, spearheaded by Barbara Johnson, criticizing Advanced Laboratory’s culture technique results reported by Dr. Eva Sapi last year, as being “probably contaminated”.

 Worse than that are the numerous lay reporters and professional medical news media all jumping on this bandwagon without just cause.

On top of that, these journalists erroneously reported that contamination of cultures did occur when the CDC, in fact, did not say or prove that. None of these reporters have had the decency to investigate before casting stones.

I have personally become involved reviewing the great accomplishment of Advanced Laboratory’s development of a culture technique reported to have a high sensitivity (94%) which is more than double the CDCs supported assay techniques sensitivities.

In light of the high reported sensitivity of the culture assay one would think that the CDC should be involved in aiding and supplementing such procedures helping to perfect same (if they feel it lacking) for the public good instead of discarding it outright. That does not seem to ring right to me. Interestingly the CDC did not criticize the culture technique itself (which by the way is excellent in my review) instead they assert that they “cannot rule out” contamination of the reported results. Yet interestingly, if contamination was so rampant not one of the controls was so contaminated and yet they ignore this.

And in one report I saw that will be soon published, a supercomputer Blast genome of GenBank analysis disputes Johnson’s contamination speculation.

I have firsthand knowledge of Advanced Labs facilities, their personnel, and their analytic techniques, which in my professional opinion are excellent.

 

 

 

His first-hand knowledge is listed here in an interview published at http://examiner.com  by  Allentown Family Health Examiner, Theresa O’Brien, and spoke with Dr. Philip M. Tierno, Jr., clinical professor of pathology and microbiology at NYU Langone Medical Center

The pertinent part of the conversation is presented here:

 

 Q: Your opinion of the likelihood of laboratory contamination in the case of the Advanced Laboratory test for Lyme disease?

 

A: The CDC never said or showed that there was in fact contamination.

They just said they could not rule it out.

To even use the word as they did in another area of the paper “probable” — those are the strongest words that they used.

They never said in fact contaminated. This is not the first time that Sanjay Gupta will have to retract his words when he looks more carefully into this.

He’s done that with marijuana. Then he saw some of the patients, and did further investigation — that’s what made him turn around. I want him to do the same thing here: come to his own conclusion by visiting the lab.

I have visited the Advanced Laboratory Services lab, so I can speak first-hand. I wrote a paper back in 1996, “Methods comparison for diagnosis of Lyme disease” (Lab Med. 1996; 27:542-546).

I was contacted by a faculty associate of mine who said, “Hey, there’s a lab in Philadelphia that could use your help in a new technique in Lyme disease.” He gave them my name and we discussed things.

I was amazed that they had a culture. Culturing is very tough. You can take some body fluids or use tissue from the erythema migrans and try to culture Borrelia, but with very low frequency. I was curious what they did that I didn’t do.

I went down there to visit and speak with the lab administration. I went through their whole facility, and if I tell you their clean rooms are clean … I also saw firsthand the spirochetes in their cultures.

They have a very intricate culture setup.

It uses collagen, a whole host of things, that even though I used a similar medium, they modified this Kelly medium, and cultured for extended periods — one month, two months, three months, four months — and did complex subcultures.

I don’t think anybody really did that to the degree that these people have done, and they have perfected it.

[The first reason to believe there is no contamination in the Advanced Laboratory Services lab:]

I have seen their cultures, and they verify the presence of Borrelia in the specimen. Of the 2000 they have done, they have a 38 percent positivity rate. By the way, if there were contamination, it would be across the board, and should be evidenced even here.

 [They use something] called an immunostain. They have an antibody stain that glows under fluorescent microscopy.

Once that’s positive, they then take the material and do a PCR on it, to look at a certain segment (16S assay) of the of the genome of the bacteria, so that they can identify it as being a member of B. burgdorferi species.

Now all Borrelia, by the way — it doesn’t matter what the species is, have certain conserved signature inserts and deletions (CSIs) and conserved signature proteins (CSPs) that are indigenous to all Borrelia species, and are unique in all Borrelia species.

Some scientists have identified seven CSIs and 21 CSPs that are uniquely found in Lyme disease Borrelia.

Then there are areas where there may be some slight differences. So you look at some of these base pairs, you amplify it so you can see it better, and it’s positive or negative.

So you confirm the fact that this spirochete is indeed Borrelia. And that’s the process of identification.

Now the CDC comes out with a report using some methodology which shows according to their report that these might be contaminants — that all positive cultures, or most of them, might be contaminants.

If that’s the case, then therefore it’s an invalid test, according to them. Of course they’re just going to suggest that you have the B31 control reference strain present in all of the cultures.

If one wanted to be disingenuous, one could take segments that all Borrelia share — to show complete 100% identities — with a species of organism — and that’s basically what they did.

I read those reports from the CDC group in Fort Collins, Colorado, saying that Eve Sapi, that her work was probably contaminated.

What hurt me more was these lay reporters that don’t know diddly squat what they’re reading, and professional medical news media that are involved, saying that it’s in fact contaminated, when it was not in fact contaminated.

They suggested that the PCR they did cannot rule out contamination, and I will tell you how that was ruled out, by these reports that are going to be published, one has already been accepted in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology for May, and there is a second that may come out in June. And there are others.

[The second reason to believe there is no contamination in the Advanced Laboratory Services lab:]

What bothered me is these journalists reporting as a fait accompli that contamination did occur, when the CDC did not say that or prove it.

None of these reporters tried to investigate further. They just took the word of CDC.

I was amazed at that, and yet if contamination did occur — and it was rampant according to them — but not one control was positive whatsoever, that is totally not expected (by Occam’s razor alone).

If you’re running the system and you’ve got — controls that go with every specimen, so that is one thing that should send up a red flag — no controls were positive for what they call contamination.

Another thing — it’s just a colloquial thing that we have in the field if you’ve done enough cases — simple observations.

When you take a reference strain like B41 (from American Type Culture & Collection, the company that sells reference strains), that reference strain will grow in about two days in your control bin.

Yet the culture from the patient will grow in a week if you’re lucky, but it could be up to 16 weeks.

If you had contamination, that contamination would also grow quickly — in about two days, the time it takes the reference strain to grow. It’s a frame of reference that you have for the organism.

All the controls came out in two days — I think the longest was three. Microbiologists can buy any culture for reference and controls. That’s the second thing. The growth of the controls was rapid, two to three days, compared to weeks or months depending upon the individual test person.

 

 

[The third reason to believe there is no contamination in the Advanced Laboratory Services lab:]

Number three. If you were to do something where, of course the specimens are gone, but you do have some 16S — some genetic markers, some PCR — we have these in a bank called the GeneBank.

In other words, there is a genome center where you can compare things, it’s gene sequences in a gene bank. It’s in their computer, the data on the genetics. They were sequenced. You can do something called a BLAST [Basic Local Alignment Search Tool].

It’s something that you use to compare your current findings with something stored in the GeneBank. You’re taking certain gene sequences.

If you do a blast comparison with the GeneBank, for this B31 strain — this is an ATC&C strain, you have that in the GeneBank — if I run a sequence and I want to compare it to the GeneBank, I can do that.

Let’s say my sequence is ABFK — of course, it’s more than that — and the sequences I get are ABFO, then that’s not identical. Or ABGHI, that’s not identical. So you can take your control and see what the homology is. The CDC reported 100% homology. But they did a method where they’re taking a certain number of base pairs.

Remember what I said about the Borrelia species have in common 82 different signature proteins, and other inserts and deletions? Well, that occurs in all Borrelia.

If I look at that subset, I get 100% homology, not only with the control, but if I ran any Borrelia, I would get that same set. The CDC says this shows 100% homology, but the BLAST analyses did not show that. It did not support 100% homology.

Johnson alleges that 48 of the 51 Sapi isolates with a sequencing match perfectly the CDC GeneBank haplotypes, but when you ran a BLAST taking the actual GeneBank sequences and comparing them to see what the degree of likeness is, they did not get (on this and a second analysis) 100% likeness.

They got 93%, 96% [which is what you’d expect from similar, but not identical, strains].

My point is, if there’s a genetic difference in the sequences you’re looking at, then it’s not identical.

Then there was a second BLAST study done. Same results: non-identity. When you fact-check the assertions of contamination of patient specimen, they were not substantiated.
[The fourth reason to believe there is no contamination in the Advanced Laboratory Services lab:]

The fourth thing was that the CDC claimed that one of the strains that the Advanced Labs were using was a B. garinii — it an ATC&C strain that’s also used as a control.

They claimed that Advanced Labs detected a B. garinii in some of the sequences, and then they said it shows that there’s contamination, because B. garinii is never found in North America — but it turns out that CDC gave in on that point.

They decided that some of the reports that came out against their comment are correct.

That species has been found even in birds in the US and Mexico, so they concede that yes, there is that organism here. There is a commonality.

Bottom line, all of the ATC&C strains that were tested and matched with a BLAST, showed that not one was 100% matches to 51 patient samples tested.

All these people did with the BLAST was to show the difference — they’re not identifying with their technique, as it is not meant to do that — they’re only showing that the strains are different.

If you say 100%, that’s a pretty strong statement. I can do a sequence where I do any Borrelia and get 100% positive, if I look at a certain segment (high conserved) that is common to all of them.

Many laboratories and physicians are intimidated by pressure from the CDC regarding the types of tests they perform for patients.

Many laboratories and physicians

from the CDC regarding the types of tests they perform for patients.

Many laboratories and physicians are intimidated by pressure from the CDC regarding the types of tests they perform for patients. Photo by Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images

 

Q: S iCDC, until recently headed by Kathleen Sebelius, advocates a two-tier test for Lyme disease that may produce false negatives for as many as half of Lyme patients.

The CDC, until recently headed by Kathleen Sebelius, advocates a two-tier test for Lyme disease that may produce false negatives for as many as half of Lyme patients.

 

Q: Your view of the appropriate type of testing for Lyme disease (enzyme immunoassays, immunoblots, serum sample cultivation, etc.)?

A: Now the sensitivity of the Advanced Labs test is 94%. The sensitivity of the two-tier testing recommended by CDC is 50%. So you’re missing half or maybe more of the cases. Look at the agony of these people. People send me letters and say,

“My daughter is dying.” I make recommendations that physicians check out that lab — but now they’ve stopped doing cultures.

It’s such a huge ramification that this one paper by the CDC is having. I don’t know how it actually got past review.

Well, I guess everybody’s afraid of this Fort Collins group, headed by Barbara Johnson. We used to think that if you treat with two weeks, maybe a month of therapy, that should be enough.

One of the things that came out of this work by Advanced Labs is that you have to treat for longer periods, even months. We used to think two or four weeks was long enough.

I think unfortunately when you hurt these people who are looking for help, and you prevent them from getting the proper therapy, because the tools they’re using do not show any active disease.

It’s shocking to me what’s going on. Another thing the CDC has been in print with — they used to quote statistics of 30,000 reported cases of Lyme each year.

The Advanced Labs spoke with some of the CDC people other than the Fort Collins group, and they said it’s likely ten times higher. Advanced Labs said it’s 300,000 cases per year, minimum. Now the CDC decided yes, it’s true: the figure should be 300,000. They reversed without an apology, just as they did with the B. garinii statement.

Even if they want to allow a change in diagnostic policy — there is another company, it’s a genetic company — that suggests two or three of the ten bands, bring down the number you need for the IgG test from five of ten to two or three of five — they should do that immediately.

But the Advanced Labs test is excellent to confirm active or chronic infection. In microbiology, there is one gold standard: the smoking gun is a live organism that is isolated from a patient. Serology is usually a retrospective look. It means at some point you were exposed. You don’t know if you have the disease currently, or whether you’re in the end phase of it, or whether it was in the past.

You would think that the CDC would develop their own culture system, or work to improve the Advanced Labs culture method, rather than throwing stones at it. This is an agency that has the task of protecting the health of America.

They shouldn’t knock a system that can help toward that goal — and even if they felt it was in need of fixing, then they should help fix it. When I see things like the current situation, it is just frustrating, and that bothers me.

During [the] toxic shock [controversy], the manufacturers called the dean of NYU — tampon manufacturers got an NYU alumnus who worked at the company to call NYU — and said that NYU had a researcher who was causing trouble.

I was checked out by numerous administrators. They tried to apply pressure to stop my toxic shock research. That’s the length that people go to. They didn’t pursue that area — nothing happened — because my three superiors said, “He’s an upstanding faculty member,” but believe me, boards of trustees of universities can be affected.

This research has been tightly controlled by the same lead IDSA Lyme guidelines authors for the last two decades. Collectively, their university labs have received over $130 million dollars in government grants since 1990.

Over half of these grants have gone to only two universities, New York Medical College and Yale, and a disproportionate amount of the grants have been used to support these researchers’ personal interests in tick-borne disease vaccines and tests. For example, New York Medical College researchers alone have founded 5 test/vaccine companies in the last few years.

For further reading go to http://www.advanced-lab.com/resources.php, and look at the Publications listed there.

Also of interest is: http://beforeitsnews.com/health/2014/04/more-on-cdc-testing-and-advanced-laboratory-lyme-disease-culture-test-2532212.html?currentSplittedPage=0

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Save That Tick and Get it Tested for Lyme Disease!

Save That Tick and Get it Tested for Lyme Disease!

Can you even tell what kind of tick is in the picture? It is a deer tick (larvae) and it is already infectious. Yes, it has been recently discovered that ticks become infected by their mother. Also, be aware that you don’t need a bull’s eye rash to confirm Lyme disease. And it doesn’t need to be a deer tick either.

There are only four out of twenty species studied from Shelter Island that can leave the skin and infect the rest of the body.  That means Continue reading

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Has Columbia University’s Lyme Research Center Sold Out to IDSA?

Has Columbia University's Lyme Research Center Sold Out to IDSA?

In 2003 the excitement was contagious.  For so many thousands of people suffering with chronic Lyme disease there was finally hope on the horizon.

Although the Lyme Research Center would not open until 2007, Columbia University Magazine wrote that year: “…Time for Lyme will continue to raise funds to establish the Columbia University Lyme Disease Research Center, the first Lyme disease research center in the United States…  U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., will accept the Time for Lyme Outstanding Service Award for his advocacy of national Lyme disease legislation. Continue reading

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Increasing Evidence Points to Major Role Birds Have in Spreading Lyme Disease

Increasing Evidence Points to Major Role Birds Have in Spreading Lyme Disease

Back in 2010, Yale reported the increasing evidence that pointed to migratory birds spreading Lyme disease not just between states but around the world.

A team led by School of Public Health researcher Maria Diuk-Wasser analyzed studies on 71 bird species that host the black legged tick, the main carrier of Lyme disease. Continue reading

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RIP Dr. Willy Burgdorfer: Scientific Community in Mourning

RIP Dr. Willy Burgdorfer: Scientific Community in Mourning

The discoverer of the spirochete that causes Lyme disease passed away yesterday, November 17, 2014.

In 1982, researcher Willy Burgdorfer, a researcher and expert in spirochetal diseases at Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML) in Hamilton, Montana, along with his colleague Alan Barbour, M.D. from the University of Texas Health Science Center.  The scientists had been studying a large number of ticks in an effort to determine the cause of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Continue reading

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Progress with Lyme Disease Medical Debate

Progress with Lyme Disease Medical Debate

At the root of Lyme patients’ struggle for care is a heated debate within the medical community over how best to diagnose Lyme disease, the reliability of laboratory tests and the major difference between the definitions of chronic Lyme disease versus post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS).

Chronic Lyme disease assumes an active disease which continues to cause symptoms and PTLDS assumes a disease that has been treated Continue reading

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The Risk of Getting Infected With Lyme Disease in the Bedroom

The Risk of Getting Infected With Lyme Disease in the Bedroom

Research gathered by a group of international scientists was presented at the annual Western Regional Meeting of the American Federation for Medical Research.

The study was conducted by an esteemed group of researchers and the abstract was published in the January 2014 issue of the Journal of Investigative Medicine.  The following was reported by Online PR News following a presentation made in Carmel, California. Continue reading

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Watch Out For Autumn Lyme Disease

Watch Out For Autumn Lyme Disease

Female ticks produce over 3000 nymphs that are amongst the most infectious type of tick, and almost impossible to see.

Imagine taking a jar of pepper and throwing it up in the air on a windy day. Think about that when you are outside anywhere during this autumn and the wind picks up. Continue reading

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Why is Publishing a Number for the Lyme Disease Epidemic Guesswork?

Why is Publishing a Number for the Lyme Disease Epidemic Guesswork?

Lately, most people either know someone personally who is suffering with Lyme disease, or they know someone who is close to someone suffering with Lyme disease.

Unfortunately, even though the Lyme disease Epidemic (better referred to as Borrelia Epidemic) continues to snowball, there are no real numbers that can be tallied.   Continue reading

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The Mystery of Lyme Disease

The Mystery of Lyme Disease

Four months ago, a 44-year-old woman was referred to me by her audiologist and ENT for acute deafness of the right ear. She is a healthy woman without any past medical history and was not on any medication. Her otolaryngologist (ENT) could not find any physical reason for the patient’s acute unilateral deafness, including a negative CAT scan. She was being referred to me to determine if there was an infection etiology for her deafness.
Continue reading

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Successful Protest in New York City to Support Victims of Lyme Disease

Successful Protest in New York City to Support Victims of Lyme Disease

The tide has turned and a groundswell of support is forming for people who are too sick to fight for themselves.

The protest which was announced in the New York Times Article recently  was a great success and apparently caught the attention of the Fox News Anchor Greta Van Susteren. Continue reading

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New FDA Regulations Could Stop Innovative Test Development for Lyme Disease

New FDA Regulations Could Stop Innovative Test Development for Lyme Disease

The FDA wants to move forward with regulations to restrict cutting edge laboratory developed tests (LDTs), which have not required FDA approval before, requiring FDA approval for all LDTs and effectively blocking critical innovation. 

Why would the FDA should restrict any  cutting edge lab test when the medical marketplace will drive the success of any test based on its success rate?  In this case the restrictions are very far reaching. Continue reading

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Share Your Struggle With Chronic Lyme Disease – Katie Couric Wants You!

Share Your Struggle With Chronic Lyme Disease - Katie Couric Wants You!

Are you struggling with chronic Lyme disease? (Oops, I forgot, there is no such thing as chronic Lyme disease – just ask Dr. Alan Steere) Well, instead of the mass media outlets ignoring chronic Lyme disease, they are now requesting stories. Continue reading

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Beyond Headlines: Lyme Disease Interview with Amy Tan and Dr. Stricker

Beyond Headlines: Lyme Disease Interview with Amy Tan and Dr. Stricker

This groundbreaking interview is well worth watching as it makes some claims that those of us in the Lyme community have believed for a long time – and it is GREAT to hear it on mainstream news finally, such as a possible one million new cases per year – yes, that is still probably an understated number but much closer than 20,000 or even 200,000 per year.

I also love Ms. Tan’s definition of healthy: “…if you can do all the things you want to do.” Fo many that should be inspiring and for others something to shoot for.

I still believe in my heart we can get rid of Borrelia completely by removing all the hiding places (parasites, biofilms, etc); having the correct “killing protocols” that work for our unique physical make-up (including immune system), co-infections with correct length of treatment; correct fitness (enough sleep, proper diet); and finally nutritional supplements for symptoms, recovery, strength and energy as well as general health.

Watch here: http://neuro-lyme.com/videoblog/amy-tan-and-dr-stricker-interview/

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It Could Be Worse: Chagas

It Could Be Worse: Chagas

Chagas, or the “Kissing Bug” appears to be on the rise.  For those of us with chronic Lyme disease, which many consider incurable once it has been in the body for a certain length of time, Chagas is also incurable unless it is treated at the onset like Borrelia burgdorferi.  Unlike, Bb, Chagas is a parasite that enters the host after the bug bite is itched – usually on the face (which is why it is called the “Kissing Bug”) but the fatalities are alarming. Continue reading

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Heather Askeland Is Finally Out of Pain

Heather Askeland Is Finally Out of Pain

Heather was in the midst of a severe relapse in her long fight with neurological Lyme disease.

I published her plea for help along with many others in April of this year (see http://neuro-lyme.com/videoblog/heather-needs-our-help/).

She recently took her own life to escape her excruciating mental and physical pain.  She will be missed.

Posted in Chronic Lyme Disease, Coping with Lyme disease, Lyme Disease Symptoms, Neurological Lyme disease, Pain | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Our Suffering With Chronic Lyme Disease – Will I Kill Myself?

Our Suffering With Chronic Lyme Disease - Will I Kill Myself?

When you suffer for days, weeks, months or even years…with pain that will not stop – or with fatigue that is so profound, you feel like a corpse (not a walking corpse because you are so weak you can barely struggle to the bathroom – no, it is a prone corpse).

You think about suicide. Let’s face it, we all have thought about it when the pain and suffering overwhelms us, and we feel there is no one who cares or understands.  Friends try to relate Continue reading

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A New Vaccine For Babesia?

A New Vaccine For Babesia?

Based on the science of a new vaccine for malaria, there is now hope that a vaccine could be developed for Babesia, a common co-infection of Lyme disease.

Dr. Richard Horowitz, a Lyme specialist in New York recently posted: “A study recently published in the journal Science may hold the key for both the prevention and treatment of Babesiosis. Continue reading

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Fantastic Article From Huffington Post

Fantastic Article From Huffington Post

This is the kind of public attention Lyme disease has desperately needed. Written by blogger/author C.M. Rubin,  “Chronic Lyme Disease” is implied throughout the entire article – a plea for better diagnostics entitled, “The Global Search for Education: Ticks – Research We Need”.

Read statements from some of the medical researchers who are presenting at the International Norvect Conference in Oslo Norway this week; including our own Dr Burrascano, Dr. Horowitz and Dr. Sapi. Continue reading

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Maca Combat Chronic Lyme Disease and Boosts Energy

Maca Combat Chronic Lyme Disease and Boosts Energy

Have you ever heard of Maca?

I never had until someone suggested it for extra energy…I will try just about anything to boost my energy – especially now that my recovery is in full swing.

Wow! I was impressed with the supplement I tried, but I hesitate to add yet another pill to my list of supplements and so Continue reading

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Biological Attack – Are We Ready

Biological Attack - Are We Ready

By Jasmine Henriques

bioterrorism

 

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Biological Attack — Are We Ready?

Imagine the nightmare scenario of an attack from a terrorist group or hostile nation. It probably involves a radioactive blast and a mushroom cloud, right? What about an attack that involves germs and surgical masks? How does that factor in? The reality is biological attacks may be just as devastating as the typical terrorist attack. How prepared is the U.S., and what’s the history of biological warfare and terrorism throughout the world?

Where We Stand

The news isn’t good — the U.S. is scarcely prepared for a large-scale infection of the population, whether man-made or naturally occurring. And this is despite spending billions to improve response efforts.
How prepared is the U.S. for a large-scale contagious disease outbreak?
Area Grade
Detection and diagnosis D
Attribution F
Communication C
Medical countermeasure availability D (B for smallpox)
Medical countermeasure development and approval D
Medical countermeasure dispensing D
Medical management D
How much does the federal government spend on preparedness?
$5.5 billion
Annual federal spending on biodefense programs
That’s more than the National Institutes of Health spends on HIV/AIDS, immunization, mental health and women’s health.
Biodefense $5.5 billion
HIV/AIDS $3.1 billion
Immunization $1.7 billion
Mental health $2.3 billion
Women’s health $3.9 billion
$1 billion
Total spent since 2003 on federal BioWatch program, which aims to detect the release of airborne pathogens as a result of a terrorist attack
BioWatch operates in about 30 cities across the country, reportedly including Philadelphia, New York, Washington, San Diego, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, St. Louis, Houston and Los Angeles, though the cities where it operates have never been officially released, and criticisms about the program remain.
149
Positive results for dangerous pathogens reported since the start of the BioWatch program
0
Actual pathogens detected; all results were false alarms

What They’re Looking For

The Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list more than 40 pathogens as potential bioterrorism agents; here are a few of the most dangerous:
Anthrax
Spores are found readily in nature, can be produced in a lab and can last for a long time in the environment. Contact with anthrax can cause severe illness in both humans and animals, though it is not contagious.
10%-15%
Survival rate from inhalation anthrax without treatment
55%
Survival rate after aggressive treatment
Symptoms of inhalation anthrax

  • Fever and chills
  • Chest discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Confusion or dizziness
  • Cough
  • Nausea, vomiting or stomach pains
  • Headache
  • Sweats (often drenching)
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Body aches

Botulism
A muscle-paralyzing disease caused by a toxin made by a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum. Foodborne botulism is the most common cause of infection.
6 hours
Most rapid appearance of symptoms
Symptoms of foodborne botulism

  • Double vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle weakness

Brucellosis
It’s most frequently transmitted to humans through dairy products, but those who spend time around infected animals are also susceptible, such as hunters, veterinarians and meatpacking workers.
Death from infection is rare (only 2% of cases), but recovery can take several months.
Symptoms of infection

  • Fever
  • Sweats
  • Malaise
  • Anorexia
  • Headache
  • Pain in muscles, joints or back
  • Fatigue

Plague
Plague is caused by Yersinia pestis, a bacterium found in rodents and their fleas in many areas around the world. Yersinia pestis used in an aerosol attack could cause cases of pneumonic plague.
Without early treatment, pneumonic plague usually leads to respiratory failure, shock and rapid death.
Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Weakness
  • Rapidly developing pneumonia
  • Bloody or watery sputum
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

Smallpox
Smallpox is a serious, contagious and sometimes fatal infectious disease. There is no specific treatment for smallpox disease, and the only prevention is vaccination.
1949
Last reported case of smallpox in the U.S.
1977
Last naturally occurring case in the world, reported in Somalia
Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Malaise
  • Head and body aches
  • Vomiting
  • Rash that develops into raised bumps

Tularemia
Tularemia is a potentially serious illness that occurs naturally in the United States. It is caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis, which is found in animals (especially rodents and rabbits). Tularemia is not known to be spread from person to person. The disease can be fatal if it is not treated with the right antibiotics.
Symptoms

  • Sudden fever
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches
  • Joint pain
  • Dry cough
  • Progressive weakness

A Brief History

The world is no stranger to people using diseases as weapons.
1000 BC
Arsenic smoke is used by the Chinese.
184 BC
In a sea battle, Hannibal of Carthage hurls clay pots full of vipers onto the decks of enemy ships.
1100s
Bodies of plague or smallpox victims are hurled over city walls.
1495
The Spanish offer wine spiked with the blood of leprosy patients to the French .
1650
Polish artillery general Siemenowics fires spheres filled with the saliva of rabid dogs at his enemies.
1763
British officers come up with a plan to distribute smallpox-infected blankets to Native Americans at Fort Pitt, Pennsylvania.
1914
German artillery soldiers fire 3,000 shells filled with dianisidine chlorosulfate, a lung irritant, at British troops. The shells contained too much TNT, which destroy the chemical.
1915
Allied troops make their own chlorine gas attacks; Germany comes up with diphosgene gas; the French try cyanide gas.
1917
Germany introduces mustard gas, which burns the skin and lungs.
1936
German chemist Gerhart Schrader comes up with nerve agent tabun (later called German agent A or GA). Two years later, he develops sarin.
1950s
British and U.S. researchers develop VX, a nerve gas so toxic that a single drop on the skin can kill in 15 minutes.
1959
Researchers at Fort Detrick, Maryland breed yellow-fever-infected mosquitoes.
1967
The International Red Cross says mustard gas and possibly nerve agents were used by the Egyptians against civilians in the Yemen civil war.
1969
23 U.S. servicemen and one U.S. civilian are exposed to sarin in Okinawa, Japan, while cleaning bombs filled with the deadly nerve agent.
1972
The U.S. and Russia sign a treaty banning the use of biological weapons, and the U.S. claims by the following year to have destroyed its weapons.
1979
A Soviet bioweapons facility releases a plume of anthrax, killing at least 64 people. Thousands could have died if the wind was blowing the other way. Despite the treaty banning biological weapons, the Soviet program had been going full speed.
1980
Iraq attacks Iran and soon unleashes a mustard agent and the nerve agent tabun, delivered in bombs dropped by airplanes.
1984
Followers of a cult member running for a county judgeship in a local election sprinkle homegrown salmonella bacteria on supermarket produce, door handles and restaurant salad bars in Oregon. Nobody dies, but 751 people become ill.
1994
Residents of Matsumoto, Japan, develop symptoms of illness due to nerve gas. Seven die and 500 are sickened. A second attack in 1995 strikes a Tokyo subway, killing 12 and infecting thousands.
2001
A newspaper editor in Florida dies of anthrax traced to a letter. Anthrax-laden letters also turn up at the offices of ABC, CBS, and NBC in New York. Anthrax is also found in the New York office of Gov. George Pataki. Letters containing anthrax also arrive at the U.S. Senate mailroom.

bioterrorismfb

SOURCES:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
http://www.wmdcenter.org/
http://report.nih.gov/categorical_spending.aspx
http://www.securitymanagement.com
http://www.cdc.gov
http://www.webmd.com

ONE RESPONSE TO BIOLOGICAL ATTACK — ARE WE READY?

  1. Aug. 2013, the regime of Bashar al-Assad uses Sarin nerve gas on neighborhoods in the Ghouta region, Damascus, Syria, during a Syrian Arab Army offensive to capture rebel-held areas. More than 1,000 people, perhaps as many as 2,000, mostly civilians, were killed when rockets filled with tons of Sarin gas were fired from Syrian Arab Army (regime loyalist) strongholds in the capital city. UN investigations concluded that the chemicals came from Syrian Arab Army stockpiles.

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New Book by Dr. Horowitz a Big Success

New Book by Dr. Horowitz a Big Success

If you haven’t read it yet, please order a copy of “Why Can’t I Get Better? Solving the Mystery of Lyme and Chronic Disease.” by Dr. Richard Horowitz.

Although you may be disappointed if you think it will give you a treatment solution for your particular disease cocktail, the book is jammed full arguably one of the most experienced (if not the most experienced) Lyme-literate MD in the US today.

My disappointment runs deeper, as it has with many of the top LLMD’s, best selling authors, and lecturers who have gained their fame and status as experts re: chronic Lyme (more accurately chronic Borrelia) Continue reading

Posted in Chronic Lyme Disease, Coping with Lyme disease, Diagnosis of Lyme Disease, Discussion, Jenna, Lyme Disease Treatment, Lyme Stories | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Ask Dr. Horowitz and Dr. Halperin

Ask Dr. Horowitz and Dr. Halperin

Last October (2013) Katie Couric produced a very interesting interview with Dr. Horowitz as a promotion of his book, “Why Can’t I Get Better? Solving the Mystery of Lyme and Chronic Disease.”

Questions from the public about chronic Lyme disease were submitted and answered by Dr. Horowitz. Continue reading

Posted in Ask the Doctor, Chronic Lyme Disease, Coping with Lyme disease, Lyme Disease Prevention, Lyme Disease Treatment | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment